Hybrid, Zero Emissions, Paperless: These, amongst others, are keywords that have become so woven into our daily vernacular that the very sight of them has almost become second nature. The movement to conserve energy or “Going Green” has been enjoying an all-time height of relevancy. Environmental concerns such as climate change have become symbiotic with concerns from the scientific community over renewable energy and the dwindling supply of petroleum. Conservationists have now been joined by politicians and businessmen who are seeking to balance the benefits of social responsibility and economic feasibility. While “Going Green” has become a popular buzzword in recent years, it is by no means a modern invention.
The movement has its roots in the cautionary writings of Thomas Malthus, who voiced his alarm of the seemingly unsustainable population growth in 18th century Europe. This mindset continued in a different tone with the Transcendentalist authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
“In wildness is the preservation of the world,” Thoreau once said. This early movement to conserve nature is still a far cry from the commercial conservation that we know today, but it remains one of its greatest influences.
Though Transcendentalism enjoyed a time of popularity, the winds of change soon rolled across the West. The great Industrial Revolution swept across Europe and the United States with such fervor that any notion of environmental responsibility was considered antiquated. Axes were taken recklessly to forests, and coal became the energy source of choice. However, human greed was about to change the perception of Industry as an infallible entity solely by accident. A man named George Gale discovered a grove of sequoia trees estimated to be over 2,300 years old at that time. To capitalize on his discovery, he had one of the largest specimens stripped of its bark so as to display it throughout the country. “The Mother of the Forest”, as he called it, regained some of its stripped honor as the traveling show drew public outcry at such a distasteful end to such a magnificent thing. This outrage, as well as the efforts of great men, such as John Muir, directly led to the formation of the National Parks in the United States. However, these early stages of the green movement would soon take a back seat to the worst facet of human nature: war.
The early twentieth century was one plagued with discord, war, and poverty. The First World War, the influenza pandemic of 1918, the Great Depression, and the subsequent Second World War occupied the full attention of the media and public. It was not until the end of World War II that modern environmentalism arrived. The post war industrial boom began to raise public concern.
The suburbanization and arrival of the middle class caused many to fear that unseen consequences were lying dormant. The automobile was now almost inseparable from daily life for the majority of the West. Reconstruction and the Cold War spurred great technological and industrial advancement as well as social fear of global destruction. Space exploration, the greatest achievement of human kind, placed humanity on a pedestal. Subsequently, it was also was gave us our greatest moment of humility. The great turn of public opinion came on Christmas Eve in 1968, when William Anders snapped the now famous photo of the Earth as it peeked over the horizon of the moon as Anders remained in lunar orbit. A small blue planet, alone in the vast nothingness of space, highlighted how small and fragile our home planet actually is. 
Since then, environmentalism and technology have seemingly been bound hand in hand. Conservationists continue to search for ways to reduce humanity’s impact on the Earth by working with scientists and engineers to create more efficient and renewable sources of energy. The attempts to abandon energy sources such as coal and petroleum, especially because of the socio-political issues these resources carry, have given rise to fully electric and hybrid automobile engines. Climate change has galvanized the world, spurring fervor to reduce, reuse, and recycle. While the private sector has been slowly embracing things like solar panels and high efficiency, low-wattage light bulbs, governments and corporations have been the big players in the modern Green Movement. Social and environmental responsibility has been thrust onto society in ways never before seen in history. We at Hardy Diagnostics recognized this responsibility and have embraced it with open arms.
In 2012, Hardy Diagnostics was certified as a Green Business by the County of Santa Barbara, California for its conservationist efforts. In a recent interview with the President and Co-founder Jay Hardy, he discussed some of the investments Hardy Diagnostics has made to be considered a certifiable Green Business. [NOTE: Writer’s notes are in brackets.]
What were some of the first steps Hardy Diagnostics had to make to become a “Green Business”?
Jay Hardy: We had to examine carefully where the waste was occurring. Was everyone involved in recycling? Are the recycle bins being picked up and processed correctly? Did we have proper incentives in place to encourage car pooling, bike riding, etc? We also made sure that our building project was as green as could be; The Moxie [Hardy Diagnostics’s café open to the public] has low water-use landscaping, flushless urinals, all LED lighting, and all new low energy use appliances and equipment.
Do you as President of the company see Green action as more of a responsibility, a necessity, or an elective choice?
JH: Going green has many paybacks. It’s good for the planet, good for the local community, and good for business. However, the benefit to our business usually has a long payback period, so we had to be willing to make the large initial investment. Some projects were very simple, like using less copy paper, using unbleached paper towels and napkins, straws without wrappers, more recycling bins, etc. However, other projects are more complex and costly. I have had to make that initial investment in hopes of long term gain.
What “Green Changes” are you most proud of/ has been the most effective?
JH: That would be the Xeroscape at the Moxie. It uses very little water, which is especially helpful in this time of drought [California is now in its fourth year of drought]. All plants in the xeroscape have a very low need for water and are on an automated drip system. There is little to no maintenance. We have had many compliments about it, and people often stop by to take photos so they can emulate what we did. It created a “ripple effect” in our community that will do much good for our environment.
What future steps are planned for Hardy Diagnostics or ones you would like to see done to make the company more Green?
JH: I intend for our next building, Joshua, to be a certified “Leeds Building.” It will feature parking lot pavers that are permeable to water to assist with rainwater percolation into the aquifer, all LED lighting in the warehouse with motion/occupancy detectors, the use of fans in the warehouse instead of air conditioning, solar panels on the roof, extensive use of insulation, and a cardboard bailer for recycling. If the solar project turns out well for the new Joshua building, we would consider a similar project for the other four buildings of our California facility.
 “Thomas Malthus (1766 – 1834).” BBC. Web. 22 July 2015. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/malthus_thomas.shtml>.
 “Transcendentalism, An American Philosophy.” UShistory.org. Independence Hall Association in Philadelphia. Web. 22 July 2015. <http://www.ushistory.org/us/26f.asp>.
 Hickman, L. (n.d.). How a giant tree’s death sparked the conservation movement 160 years ago. Retrieved July 22, 2015, from http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2013/jun/27/giant-tree-death-conservation-movement
 Clash, J. (n.d.). Astronaut Bill Anders Recalls Famous ‘Earthrise’ Photo He Took From Moon. Retrieved July 22, 2015, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimclash/2015/04/17/bill-anders-recalls-famous-earthrise-photo-he-took-from-moon/
Written by Daniel Ballew, August 2015.
Daniel is a Marketing Associate for Hardy Diagnostics. He earned his bachelor’s degree in History and a certificate in World Religions at California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo in San Luis Obispo, California where he studied mythology and the development of Christianity.